June 18, 2013

PRDM16 is a Pretty Big Deal in Fat Regulation

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brown-fatSan Francisco’s Shingo Kajimura, PhD, is an award-winning diabetes researcher who’s making a name for himself based on the research he is doing on fat cells. He is working on a therapeutic treatment to turn white fat into brown fat.

The body contains two different types of fat cells: brown and white. Brown fat is touted for its calorie burning and energy producing attributes. White fat is notoriously known for storing calories and draining energy.

This study identifies the Type 2 diabetes drug class TZD as being able to  stabilize the white fat cells and turn them into brown fat. However, the downfall for the TDZ drugs is that they can cause adverse side effects like fluid retention and heart failure.

TZD is able to do this by stabilizing PRDM16. An earlier study of Kajimur’s works has shown that PRDM16 is a protein that controls the development of brown fat or skeletal muscle.

The reason Dr. Kajimura’s work is gaining him recognition for one of the nation’s top enterprising scientists is  because he is developing a novel treatment to help stabilize PRDM16 and encourage the transformation of white fat into brown fat, without the side effects associated with  TZD drugs.

Unlike the structure of a house of cards, by engaging the white fat to become brown fat, researchers may find a way to reduce obesity, decrease the risk of T2D, and build a strong infrastructure for the future of mankind.

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